At the MDRT Top of the Table meeting this fall, Don Speakman presented a convincing case for why you should consider expanding your business through seminar marketing. He said he started doing group presentations to communicate his ideas because one-on-one marketing efforts were not efficient.
Don recalled that, early in his career, he had dinner with a prospect who was referred to him. Within the first 10 minutes of meeting this prospective client, he realized they were not going to be a good fit. However, because he had promised this prospective couple dinner, he had to spend another hour and a half making small talk with them.
It wasn't that Don dislikes meeting people. He was just frustrated with the complete inefficiency of this marketing method. Saying the same message over and over to one person or couple at a time seemed clunky and unproductive to him.
Don had the idea of talking with groups of people to communicate his message. For a couple of decades now, he's been refining his seminars to the point where they are today. He does the same seminar half a dozen times at country clubs in his geographic area.
He invites his current clients and their friends to these retirement seminars. Don has been developing and refining his database of referrals that have come from his seminar attendees. At the end of the seminar, each attendee is given an evaluation survey to complete. On the evaluation survey, Don includes a section for the attendees to refer their friends to attend a future seminar.
To me, seminars are not primarily marketing events. The seminar is really a method of transmitting information efficiently. If you say one thing to an audience of 20 people, then you have saved yourself 19 conversations.
See also: The right way to sell via seminars
There are some cautions I need to point out to you before you begin adding seminars to your marketing plan. First, the cost of seminar marketing is prohibitive. If you pay a dollar a piece for each mailer and invite 5,000 people, you may spend $5,000 for that marketing event.
Second, the results from seminar marketing are usually delayed. You could wait 6 to 12 months before converting that interested seminar attendee into a client. If your client acquisition costs are over $500 (to move a seminar attendee down the pathway from an interested prospect to a client), that's a long time to wait for the results.
The third very important caution is this: You must have a measurable appointment process to take prospective clients through. I also recommend you have a team of people around you to keep you accountable to that process.
So far this month, we have had three different kinds of seminars. One of them was a presentation to approximately 95 clients. We helped them learn about elder care planning. I also taught a retirement seminar for a few interested attendees. Several nights ago, seven different prospective family units attended a seminar I held at a local college, and five of the families signed up for a complimentary consultation with me. That's a 71.42 percent response rate.
You could have seminars that focus on giving appreciation to your current clients. Another type of seminar you could host provides continuing legal and tax education to attorneys and CPAs. (Note: you need to be properly qualified to teach continuing education.) Create seminars that position you as a consumer's advocate in your community.
Whatever you have to offer, you can communicate more effectively in a seminar environment. So consider adding seminars to next year’s marketing plan. Seminars can help you leverage other peoples' networks (OPN). OPN seminars may be done for attorneys, CPAs, or other community’s civic groups. As John Savage used to say, "Sell to the masses and eat with the classes."
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